Roadforce Balancing – What It’s All AboutGoldwing Autocare - Ottawa's Tire Balancing Experts
Goldwing Autocare has been the proud owner of a state-of-the-art Hunter GSP9700 road force balancer for more than 10 years now. Back then, we were one of the first in Ottawa to have one; more importantly we were the first in Ottawa to properly know how to use it. Those who know what roadforce balancing is, know that there really is no comparison to be had with a standard tire balancing. For those of you who do not know what roadforce balancing is please read on, we will do our best to explain.
First, let’s explain to those who are unaware, what tire balancing is exactly.
Wheel balancing, also known as tire balancing, is the process of distributing the mass of the wheel and tire assembly, when mounting on a car’s axle. This process can evenly distribute the weight around the axle.
The wheel and tire assembly is rarely the same weight all around. Tires may have slight weight imbalances from either the construction or compounds in the tire or your rims may have a slight imbalance or imperfection from construction or driving through road-hazards. During the mounting process the tire technician tries to offset these differences and then fine tunes the imbalance with wheel weights to effectively “balance” the wheel and tire assembly.
A tiny imbalance in weight can easily become a very noticeable imbalance at certain speeds. This usually translates into a vibration in the car and if unaddressed, can led irregular tread wear and premature wearing of suspension components.
Standard balancing is the plain-jane proccess of balancing your wheel and tire assembly. It’s great for balancing steel wheels or the older style of wheels that use clip on weights for both the outer and inner lips.
However, the common style of wheel is changing from a dual-lip steel wheel to a more aesthetically pleasing alloy wheel that often only has a lip opposite to the wheel’s face. Most alloy wheels require the use of stick on weights that are applied to the inner barrel.
A standard balancer is not ideal for measuring the exact amount of weight to be applied to the inner barrel of wheel as every wheel is different because the offsets are different even among different models of the same manufacturer. For example a BMW 3 series will have wheels with a much different offset than a 5 or 6 series BMW. This difference creates two issues, the first being the technician performing the wheel balancing has to setup the balancing machine twice rather than once, and the second issue is that the most times with alloy wheels, the weights must be applied behind the spokes; on a standard balancer there is no way to tell the machine exactly where this is.
Standard balancers know the diameter of a wheel, how wide the wheel is, and how far away it sits from the sensor that measures the run out. In a standard balancer all it is doing is looking for the slight variations of roundness in the wheel and tire assembly. The weights help to even out a side-to-side wobble (lateral run out) or an up and down wobble (radial run out). What is missing from the measurements is the amount of force the tire can throw off.
This is where roadforce balancing comes into play.
This is a traditional tire balancing machine. Note it lacks a roller and comprehensive weight management arms present in the Hunter GSP9700.
When balancing with a Hunter Road Force machine we are able to tell the machine exactly how far the wheel sits from the sensors that are taking the measurements, exactly where the spokes are so we can hide the weights, the width of the wheel, and the diameter.
When operating the roadforce balancer, a roller will apply more than 1000 lbs of pressure to the wheel while it’s spinning to simulate how the wheel will act when on the road with the weight of a car on it. This roller can measures the amount of weight the tire can throw off while it is spinning. This is what’s known as “road force”. Road force is present in new and old tires – sometimes, even more so in new tires which is caused from stiffness, lack of stiffness, or weak spots in the sidewalls of the tires.
By reading the run out of the wheel and tire assembly in conjunction with the road force measurement the Hunter Road Force machine will nearly always get a wheel perfectly balanced.
While the Hunter Road Force Balancer is taking weight measurements it looks at both the rim run out and tire run out to see if they are within industry specific tolerances and if the wheel and tire assembly is out of tolerance there are a whole host of other tests to determine if the excessive road force is caused by the rim or the tire. In most cases, rotating the tire to a different position on the wheel, or even using the tire on a different rim can eliminate excessive road force.
In our own experience we have already had customers who found that after having us road force balance their wheels it was the smoothest ride they had ever experienced while driving their car. Even when they thought it couldn’t get any better!
The GSP9700 is Hunter’s flagship roadforce tire balancer.